Care Proceedings: What do the court orders mean for you?


Posted on: July 28th, 2022

What are Care Proceedings?

The Local Authority can make an application to the court to initiate Care Proceedings if they are worried that your child has either suffered significant harm or is at risk of suffering significant harm. The types of harm are set out as follows:

-Emotional harm

-Physical harm

-Sexual harm

-Neglect

The Local Authority have the option of applying for one or more of several different interim orders which will be explained in further detailed within this article.

Legal Aid

If you are a parent involved in this sort of case it is important to note that you are entitled to a lawyer, and that you do not have to pay. They will be independent of social services, will be available to provide you with advice throughout the process and will be able to attend with you as your advocate at all upcoming court hearings. It is important to get advice as soon as possible.

Care Order

This order gives the local authority parental responsibility for a child so that they can make important decisions for the child in respect of important matters such as education and health. When a Care Order is made, a parent does not lose parental responsibility for their child. That being said, the Local Authority has the power to override decisions of the parents if they feel that it is in the best interests of the child.

A care order ultimately places a child in the care of children’s services. It usually lasts until the child reaches 18, unless the court discharges the order before that time. Usually when the court makes a final Care Order the child will live out of the family for example in Local Authority foster care. In some cases, however, the child might remain at home or with a family member such as a grandparent.

Supervision Order

A Supervision Order imposes a duty on the local authority to ‘advise, assist and befriend’ the child. This often includes ongoing visits from the allocated Social Worker, ongoing support being provided. Parents me also be expected to complete some further work under this order. As Supervision Order can last up to 12 months, but the Local Authority may apply back to the court to extend the order for up to 3 years.

Interim Orders

An Interim Order is only a temporary order and will often be made at the first court hearing. The main two interim orders are Interim Care Orders and Interim Supervision Orders. These orders are the same as Care Order and Supervision Orders above but only remain in place until either a further order is made or until the conclusion of proceedings. When considering the making of interim public law orders, the court must decide if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering significant harm due to the care they have been receiving.

Child Arrangements Order

A Child Arrangements Order is an order that regulates who a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with, and when a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with. If a “live with” Child Arrangements Order is made during Care Proceedings, the order will give that person a level of parental responsibility, that they will share with either the child’s parents.

Emergency Protection Order

Anyone can apply to the court for an emergency protection order if they fear that a child is in imminent danger. These Court Orders, however, are rare and applications are only made by the Local Authority if they believe the child’s welfare requires them to be removed to a place of safety immediately. An Emergency Protection Order usually lasts for up to eight days. However, an application may be made to extend this.  If granted by the court, an Emergency Protection Order gives the applicant the power to remove a child or keep a child in a safe place

Placement Order

A placement order is an order made by the court which authorises the Local Authority to place a child for adoption. It can only be made in relation to a child who is the subject of a care order or where the threshold criteria for a care order are satisfied. Parents and guardians with parental responsibility must either have consented to the child being placed for adoption or the court has dispensed with their consent.

Special Guardianship Order

A Special Guardianship places a child or young person to live with someone other than their parent(s) on a long-term basis. The person(s) that the child is placed will become the child’s Special Guardian. This order gives Special Guardians parental responsibility for the child alongside their parents. It is important to note however, that like a Care Order, a Special Guardianship Order gives the power to override the decisions of parents if they feel that they need to.  The order will remain in place until the child reaches the age of 18 unless it is later discharged. The benefit of a Special Guardianship order is that it allows children to stay in touch with their birth family and sometimes their parents if at all possible and the situation allows.

Our team at Cygnet fully acknowledge that it is a very difficult time for any parent or family member going through the Care Proceedings process. Our team are highly knowledgeable in the area and are able to provide you with a high standard of advice whilst maintaining a level of empathy and simply being there to guide you through the process.

Talk to the experts


If you require any of our legal services or you're not sure where to get started, please contact us at either our Redcar or Darlington office and our solicitors will guide you every step of the way.

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